But if the parties are opposed to divorce for moral or religious reasons, or neither wants to remarry, or they simply want to formalize their separation before deciding whether to seek a full dissolution, legal separation is a way for them to go it alone.
The main distinction between a legal separation and dissolution is the status of the marriage.
In a legal separation, the court only has the authority to determine support, including both child support and maintenance.
(6) The conduct that results in a separation need not be a sufficient basis for a divorce, because the measure of proof and grounds for a legal separation differ from a dissolution.
The proper venue for bringing a legal separation action is the county in which the parties last resided together as husband and wife or where the respondent resides.
A party seeking a legal separation shall also be entitled to temporary relief as they would under a normal dissolution, including injunctive relief and the rights to exclusive possession.
The court analyzed New Jersey law and found that the particular provision under which the decree of separate maintenance was obtained did not effect a legal separation. Rather, the court found that the particular decree merely had the effect of "a money judgment determining the financial extent of the husband's duty to support his wife and children, if any."(10) The court further stated:
1971-103, wherein the court ruled: "Actual separation does not satisfy the statute which requires that (1) there must be a legal separation and (2) that such separation must have been accomplished by a `decree of divorce or of separate maintenance.'"
The court inferred that had the wife filed a New York action for a legal separation, a final order on such action would meet the standard of IRC [sections] 7703(a)(2).
A court order granting exclusive possession of the marital residence to the wife, without more, does not meet the provisions of section 143(a)(2) which require (1) a legal separation, (2) which must have been accomplished by a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance.
361, 367 (1978), the court points out that an action to compel support under a divorce statute is distinctly different from an action for legal separation. It noted that, "A temporary order for support during the pendency of a divorce proceeding is more in the nature of an order for support and like such an order for support the marital status is unaffected."
If a person who is now a Florida resident has come into the state from a jurisdiction with a judgment or decree of legal separation, they can file as an unmarried person.